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KFDM 6 :: News - Top Stories - President Obama, Mitt Romney prepare for dash to the finish
Tuesday, October 23 2012, 10:05 AM CDT
President Obama, Mitt Romney prepare for dash to the finish

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) - Their debates now history, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney on Tuesday open a two-week sprint to Election Day powered by adrenaline, a boatload of campaign cash and a determination to reach Nov. 6 with no would-have, should-have regrets in their neck-and-neck fight to the finish.


From here, the candidates will vastly accelerate their travel, ad spending and grass-roots mobilizing in a race that's likely to cost upward of $2 billion by the time it all ends.


All the focus now is on locking down support in the nine states whose electoral votes are still considered up for grabs: Colorado, Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia. No surprise then, that Obama campaigns Tuesday in Florida and Ohio while Romney heads West to Nevada and Colorado.


Asked Tuesday whether the race comes down to Ohio, Virginia and Florida as some observers have suggested, Vice President Joe Biden described the three as "critically important." He predicted victory in Ohio and Florida - without mentioning Virginia.


"Look, this is going to be close," Biden said in an appearance on NBC's "Today" show. "We always knew at the end of the day this was going to be a close race, no matter who the Republicans nominated."


Neither candidate scored a knockout punch in their third and last debate Monday, as both men reined in the confrontational sniping that had marked their last testy encounter. And though the stated topic this time was foreign policy, both kept circling back to their plans for strengthening the fragile U.S. economy - Job 1 to American voters.


Closing out their trio of debates, Obama concisely summed up this pivot point in Campaign 2012: "You've now heard three debates, months of campaigning and way too many TV commercials. And now you've got a choice."


The president framed it as a choice between his own record of "real progress" and the "wrong and reckless" ideas of Romney.


Romney countered by sketching "two different paths" offered by the candidates, one of decline under Obama and one of brighter promise from himself.


"I know what it takes to get this country back," he pledged.


With polls showing the race remains incredibly tight, first lady Michelle Obama made a prediction before the candidates left Florida that neither side would dispute: "This election will be closer than the last one - that's the only guarantee."


Obama made it look easy in 2008. He won 365 electoral votes to 173 for Republican John McCain. And he got 53 percent of the popular vote, to 46 percent for McCain.


With 270 electoral votes needed for victory, Obama at this point appears on track to win 237 while Romney appears to have 191. The other 110 are in the hotly contested battleground states.


The candidates' strategies for getting to 270 are implicit in their itineraries for the next two weeks and in their spending on campaign ads.


Obama and his Democratic allies already have placed $47 million in ad spending across battlegrounds in the campaign's final weeks, while Romney and the independent groups supporting his candidacy have purchased $53 million, significantly upping their buys in Florida, Ohio and Virginia. And both sides are expected to pad their totals.


After Obama and Biden campaign together in Ohio on Tuesday, the president splits off on what his campaign is describing as a two-day "around-the-clock" blitz to six more battleground states. He'll be in constant motion - making voter calls and sleeping aboard Air Force One as he flies overnight Wednesday from Nevada to Tampa, Fla.


The vice president is midway through a three-day tour of uber-battleground Ohio, and Obama's team contends its best way of ensuring victory is a win there. The campaign says internal polling gives Obama a lead in the Midwestern battleground state, in large part because of the popularity of the president's bailout of the auto industry.


But even if Obama loses Ohio, his campaign sees another pathway to the presidency by nailing New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado.


Romney and running mate Paul Ryan are picking up the pace of their campaigning as well, and their schedule reflects an overarching strategy to drive up GOP vote totals in areas already friendly to the Republican nominee.


The Denver suburbs. Cincinnati. Reno, Nev. They're places that typically vote Republican, but where McCain fell short of the margins he needed to defeat Obama. To win in all-important Ohio, the GOP nominee must outperform McCain in typically Republican areas.


Romney and Ryan start their two-week dash in Henderson, Nev., then hopscotch to the Denver area for a rally with rocker-rapper Kid Rock and country music's Rodney Atkins at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Then Romney heads back to Nevada, on to Iowa and then east to Ohio for three overnights in a row. By week's end, he's likely to be back in Florida.


The following week brings a significant uptick in Romney's schedule. Aides say he'll touch down in two or three states a day, or hold that many daily events in big states like Florida.


Both candidates are done holding fundraisers - no doubt a happy thought for the two of them.


But hold on to your wallets: Supporters will still be out there raising money, and there will be plenty of emails asking for cash right up to the finish.


The president began the month with a little less cash available than Romney, but both have impressive sums to blow through in the home stretch: $150 million for Obama and the Democrats, $183 million for Romney and the Republicans.


Immediately after the final debate, Obama pinged his supporters with an email that said simply: "This is in your hands now. Chip in $5 or more, and let's go win."


Republicans are dramatically bumping up ad spending in the biggest battlegrounds: In Florida, their spending this week hit $9.2 million after averaging about $5.8 million over the last four weeks. In Ohio, GOP ad spending jumped to $9.6 million this week from an average of $6.9 million over the last four weeks. Virginia saw a bump up to $7.9 million, compared with about $5.2 million over the last four weeks.


The Obama campaign on Tuesday released a new TV ad touting recent economic gains. "We're not there yet," Obama says in the ad, "but we've made real progress and the last thing we should do is turn back now." The ad will air in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and Colorado.


Out on the road, Romney has been demonstrating more confidence than ever. He's started making more impromptu stops at local establishments near campaign rallies, a departure from his typically buttoned-down schedule through the summer. His crowds are bigger and more energized, too. And some voters who've attended his recent rallies say his performance helps them to see Romney as a plausible president - not just a candidate.


Obama, for his part, has been projecting a looser, more easygoing demeanor as he campaigns, using humor to undercut Romney.


He riffs about his rival's "Romnesia" - a lighthearted way to drive home his opponent's shifting policy positions.


Both sides are working furiously to lock down every possible early vote, and the results are evident in the 4.4 million people who've already cast ballots.


Obama will detour to Chicago Thursday to make a statement about voting early by becoming the first president to cast his own early ballot.


The country is likely to easily exceed the early voting totals from 2008, when 30 percent of ballots were cast ahead of Election Day, according to Michael McDonald, a George Mason University professor who tracks early voting closely.


In Ohio, McDonald said, numbers are up across the board - in rural, suburban and urban areas. As many as 45 percent of Ohio voters may cast early ballots, compared with less than 30 percent four years ago, he said. The numbers in North Carolina seem to be shifting in the Republicans' direction, McDonald says, and those in Iowa "seem to confirm polling showing a slight Obama lead" there.


This year's quartet of debates - three for the presidential candidates and one for the veeps - started on a friendly note, with Romney wishing Obama and wife Michelle a happy 20th anniversary, but goodwill quickly deteriorated. Both men were at times argumentative and the back-and-forth often shed more heat than light.


Romney started the debate at a disadvantage with a lack of foreign policy experience. But Ryan said former governors have been very effective world leaders.


"Just look back to Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan," Ryan said on "Today." ''What matters is policy doctrine."


Romney came on like gangbusters in the first debate and left a listless Obama reeling as GOP momentum surged. Biden poured it on for the Democrats in his faceoff with Ryan, rolling out a full complement of smirks, eye-rolls and headshakes. Obama himself rebounded in the fractious town-hall debate. Both Obama and Romney were better behaved in their final faceoff, with the president playing up his commander-in-chief credentials to full effect and Romney playing it safe to avoid making mistakes.


From it all - more than 65,000 words of debate rhetoric - there was no signature moment that is likely to be remembered much past Election Day.


___



KEN THOMAS
Associated Press


Benac reported from Washington. AP writers Nedra Pickler, Julie Pace, Jack Gillum and Beth Fouhy in Washington and Kasie Hunt in Boca Raton, Fla., contributed to this report.


___


Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nbenac


Follow Ken Thomas at http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


10/23/2012 6:47:49 AM (GMT -5:00)

President Obama, Mitt Romney prepare for dash to the finish

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Breaking News: Bridge on I-35 in Salado

AAA: Texas gas prices continue slow fall

UT Austin student body votes to remove Jeff Davis statue

South Texas State Fair attractions will astound and amaze

Lamar University hosts actor, environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr.

Judge declares mistrial in Jeremy Kneeland case

Sulphur police ask help to find USA Super Stop robber

U.S. House passes bi-partisan Medicare bill

12-year-old shot self, brother: Officer body cam sound to be released

Egypt, Saudi Arabia to conduct ground operations in Yemen; Saudi's conduct airstrikes

German officials say no indication of terrorist background in co-pilot of plane that crashed

Official: co-pilot of Germanwings plane set plane to crash

Community pulls together to help homeless woman and dog

Mother of Beaumont shooting victim speaks out

South Texas State Fair opens today (Thursday)

KFDM learns judge orders Millet Harrison released to outpatient treatment once plan is in place for care

Tornado causes death, destruction in Oklahoma

Renovated building opens in Port Arthur, EDC and Chamber of Commerce housed there

Man indicted for Aggravated Kidnapping in shooting death of Lamar student

Police arrest gang member for violation of injunction

Beaumont residents ask city to repair potholes

Examining viral vs. bacterial meningitis

Texas Senate passes $4.5 billion tax cut measure

BISD board holds second round of Superintendent interviews

Tom Wright shows some amazing animals at the South Texas State Fair

Audio from crashed plane's black box gives no early clues

Log truck overturns between Lumberton, Kountze - traffic re-routed

Elephants save truck from turning over in Natchitoches Parish

Motorcyclist injured in Pinehurst accident

Fire damages home in Sour Lake

Texas Historical Commission offers free Cold War Oral History training workshop

BISD interviewing superintendent candidates

Blue Bell ice cream recall expands

Homeless shelters could receive more funding

Woman drops off old mortar round at Texas Recycling Center

Police: Unrestrained woman dies in drunken crash in Lake Charles

Woman who had unborn baby cut from her released from hospital.

Mosquito season is on the way

Fire at vacant house raises other questions

Search team scouring Alps plane crash site that killed 150

CrimeStoppers -- beekeeper seeking help finding vandals

Nederland student in hospital with meningitis symptoms

Major accident at Fannett and Brooks Road sends elderly woman to hospital

BBB essay contest teaches learning the lessons of life

South Texas State Fair opens to excitement in 2 days.

Calf rescued from mud; deputies alerted by tugboat captain

BREAKING NEWS: House fire in west Beaumont

Two in custody after Evadale store robbery

Airbus crashes in Alps; 150 on board

Jasper native's wife shot in Houston road rage incident

TxDOT urges drivers to slow down in work zones

Trial set for videographer arrested for covering Ferguson

Report says it's hard to get fired from fed jobs

Former PA city employee pleads guilty to stealing from city

Supreme Court will decide whether vanity plates can bear Confederate flag

iPhone fire sends Houston boy to the hospital

Motiva workers get orientation as they return to their jobs

Senator Cruz announces candidacy for President

Man begins life sentence for murder

Former PA employee pleads guilty to theft by public servant

Supreme Court to decide if Texas can sell license plates with Confederate battle flag

CPSO arrests man for cruelty to juvenile

Tracy Byrd to be inducted into Texas Country Music Hall of Fame

Two morning fires keep firefighters busy

Texas boy, 12, in custody over shooting death of friend, 13

Gas Buddy -- Texas gas avg. prices down to $2.22

Woman who spent 22 years on death row has murder case thrown out

Lawmakers: Funding education for Texas veterans too much

UPDATE: standoff ends, police say man shoots himself in mouth

KFDM.com will stream Sen. Ted Cruz major announcement Monday

Report: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz could announce run for White House on Monday

HEB calling for local food and beverage innovators

Preparations underway for the South Texas State Fair

Police say shots fired on Gilbert Street in Beaumont

Flooding Saturday throughout Southeast Texas

Driver arrested following local road rage incident

Kirbyville pastor laid to rest Saturday

Port Arthur business looking forward to refinery workers going back to work

Athletes compete in Special Olympics

Fire destroys Jasper home

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to make major announcement Monday

Beaumont police looking for man who exposed himself to children

Fire at Beaumont Hotel causes evacuation

BPD: One person hospitalized following DWI accident in Beaumont

Investigators identify body found near Rainbow Bridge; possible suicide highlights prevention

Possible changes to healthcare costs in Southeast Texas

Bassmasters tourney brings economic benefit to Orange

South Texas State Fair workers begin preps

Trout Fishing in American has free concert tonight outside Lutcher Theater

Community leaders deliver for Meals on Wheels

Texas Country Reporter: Bringing the spirits focus to Texas

Habitat director moves to Lamar University spot

Body of suspected suicide victim identified; found near Rainbow Bridge

Nederland Heritage Festival fun continues

Program Note: 6PM and 10PM news changes because of March Madness

Buna driver dies in Hwy 87 one-vehicle accident

Entergy receives Emergency Recovery Award for 17th straight years

Poll: Americans say spend more, tax less, legalize pot

Update: Both lanes of Highway 69 now open after fuel spill

Schools nationwide struggle with substitute teacher shortage

Local water level rises from reservoir release and could lead to potential flooding

Americans spend billions on March Madness bracket pools

Burkeville HS principal says race segregated assembly was focused on helping black students

Emails: UN health agency resisted declaring Ebola emergency

KFDM learns USW union members from Chevron Phillips unanimously ratify new contract

Festival and Bassmaster Elite Tournament kick-off in Orange

Update on day one of Bassmaster Elite Fishing Tournament

Businesses try to work with billion-dollar Natgasoline company

Nederland Heritage Festival drawing crowds tonight

Jasper Air Show rescheduled

Body found on Orange County side of Rainbow Bridge

Statement by Senator Creighton on Senate passage of Campus Carry

Grand Jury indicts man on 2nd degree felony

AAA survey shows gas down 2 cents for Spring Break

Vacant house fire appears suspicious

Poll finds many unaware health subsidies could be ruled out

Experts predict great wildflower season in Texas

Police: Woman stabbed pregnant woman, removed her unborn baby

AP Exclusive: Iran limited to 6K centrifuges in draft accord

Mother restrains soldier found raping her daughter

Victim's friends react to former councilman's guilty plea

Former Hardin County deputy pleads guilty to making false statement

Kountze Police arrest man accused of beating up his girlfriend

Jasper tax preparer and Jefferson County inmate indicted for Fed Income Tax violations

First arrest made in Surenos 13 injunction

Next steps for USW

Doctor donates land for new Bridge City police station

Former Kountze Councilman sentenced for theft

Nederland Heritage Festival in full swing

Kountze Police seek man wanted on assault warrants

Beaumont Chamber to hold vendors' fair for new NatGas plant

Live Report: USW takes down picket line ending strike

Netanyahu surges to victory in Israel election

Town hall held for citizens concerned about low income housing development on Phelan

USW unanimously approves new contract with Motiva

Judge visits mother to learn how CPS helps children

CrimeStoppers looking for robber who stole chainsaw powered bike

Regional Airport prepares for active shooter situation

Famous Beaumont nightclub Cutters coming down

Shop owners on Boston Avenue hope for exposure during Nederland Heritage Festival

PA Council peers into what it can do in bedbug infestation

Hardin County SO finds human remains; clothing linked to Steve Hadnot

Judge sentences Newton County man for child porn

Nederland Heritage Festival underway

One of state's top 10 most wanted sex offenders caught in Beaumont

Jasper County deputies seize gun, meth during raid of home in Rayburn Country

Port Arthur taxpayers and councilman react to investigation of former city employee

LU names new Dean of Engineering

USW workers from Motiva set to return Monday, March 23 if contract ratification approved

Live report: D.A. investigating complaint recently terminated P.A. Municipal Court employee of embezzling funds, altering document

KFDM learns CHRISTUS negotiating with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas with April 1 deadline approaching

'Monsignor Meth' asks judge for leniency

GOP offers $3.8T budget that boosts defense, cuts elsewhere

Sheriff: Florida woman fakes breast cancer collected thousand in donations

Three people injured in Port Arthur shooting

Victim reacts to sentence for Intoxication Assault

GasBuddy: Texas gas prices drop 1 cent, stabilize

Spring Breakers enjoy what Crystal Beach has to offer

Chevron Phillips USW ratification vote Thursday

Dairy Queen offers free ice cream cone

Woman sentenced for 2012 Intoxication Assault

USW slated to finalize back-to-work

Police: Man who fatally shot wife captured leaving in SUV; bond $1 million

Lawmakers pitch laws to end Sunday blue laws in Texas

Ferguson shooting suspect: "did not target cops"

Baby saved after being trapped between car tire and stroller

Golden Triangle road or lane closures on major highways and streets

Bass Master Elite Series could be a boost for small businesses in Orange

Toledo Bend Reservoir water levels rise

KFDM learns USW ratification vote set for Tuesday

100-year-old woman has sky-high birthday treat

Small business owners make the best of a difficult situation during Motiva strike

Ozen fans support team from home

Water level could lead to releases at Toledo Bend Reservoir

BPD: Suspected gunman arrested following shooting

BPD investigating stabbing

Police: Two toddlers, grandpa killed while walking by road

TxDoT lists planned road closures in area:

Court document reveals man's confession to killing

Orange Detectives arrest man with powder cocaine

Community reacts: man indicted on murder charge

Five Kansans ill, 3 dead in Listeriosis linked to Blue Bell Creameries

Kountze boys getting ready for the State Title showdown

Thieves steal tornado victim's possessions

Texas AgriLife shows students hazards of drinking and driving

LCM students walk for the community

VFW to present $20,000 to volunteer fire departments

Hardin County Grand Jury indicts man charged with killing former girlfriend

Woman arrested linked to Lamar University student murder case

Shell outlines details of four-year tentative agreement with USW

Newton County Sheriff's Office chief deputy and chief dispatcher resign after sheriff found not guilty

Texas severs group's 110-year management of the Alamo

At odds with Google, U.S. seeks new rule on computer access

Residents tired of flooding on Jenny Lane in Lumberton

Missing SETX child at center of custody dispute found; mother arrested

Washington State teen heroes stop kidnapper

Florida: city bus crosses road slams into house

Live Report: Tentative agreement between USW and Shell

Lamar State College teaches about dangers of texting and driving during annual event

Acrobatic basketball team raises awareness against dangers of smoking

Meals on Wheels baked potato fundraiser

HEB job fair aims to hire 300

Cause of fire in Orange County ruled undetermined; See why

BREAKING NEWS: KFDM learns of tentative four year agreement between USW and Shell

TxDot traffic alert-- places with water over road

Andrew Chernoff has state tourney preview from San Antonio

Man with gunshot wound to chest shows up at Beaumont motel

Man arrested for aggravated robbery at apartment

State gas prices level for Spring Break; Beaumont still lowest price

Photos of flooding in Lumberton. Flash Flood Warning for Hardin County

Houston Ship Channel reopens following ship collision, spill

Officers shot during protest in Ferguson

USW leader expects new contract offer from Shell, says there's positive movement

Newton County Sheriff speaks out following jury's verdict

Federal agency approves sale of powdered alcohol

84-year-old man killed in collision Wednesday night on FM 105 north of Vidor

Jefferson County deputies help man during medical emergency

Woman dies in wreck; brother wants to make Hwy 62 safer

Lawmakers challenge truancy, some don't see need for change

BPD files additional charges in Rhydan Bolton homicide

Boat safety tips for spring break

Breaking News: Jury find Newton County Sheriff Eddie Shannon not guilty of making terroristic threat

Update on fatal collision in Colmesneil

Habitat Director, Trylowsky, leaving after decade of service

Proposed senior housing draws controversy

11 service members missing and presumed dead in crash off Florida coast

Emergency Service Districts warn bill could affect fire & medical services

Houston Ship Channel -- One ship moved, work on puncture ongoing

Survey: Gun ownership down in U.S, hunting up in Texas

Nederland middle school teacher finds threatening note in class

HEB hosting job fair; many full and part-time positions available

Grandma on trial for murder in death of girl, 9, forced to run fo 3 hours

Hillary Clinton addresses email controversy

Royal horses come to Beaumont

Murder suspect in death of two teens arrested in SWAT standoff

CrimeStoppers seek public's help in solving hit and run

Man buys art treasure for 50 cents at yard sale

Houston Ship Channel remains closed following tanker collision

Jury finds Pharrell, Thicke copied for 'Blurred Lines' song

YMBL to present annual South Texas State Fair Rodeo

Police need help identifying Eskimo Hut robber

2 University of Oklahoma students expelled over racist chant

Chevron Phillips Chemical receives TX Environmental Excellence Award

Trial of Newton County Sheriff underway; charged with terroristic threat

Orange to host 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament No. 1

Investigators release name of man charged with Intoxication Manslaughter in Orange County fatality

Police: LU student's murder a case of mistaken identity

KFDM News learns BISD board will interview 5 of 26 final applicants for superintendent

USW and Shell hold bargaining in Houston

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Business News

Major business and economic events scheduled for Tuesday:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- There are two major economic reports on today's schedule, as the Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting to set interest rates.

Consumer News

   WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 --
 Companies that pride themselves on being eco-friendly may have conflicted
 ideas between marketing with ad specialties and maintaining their green
 reputation. ...

Entertainment News

"THE VOICE"

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Team Adam is down to a single performer as "The Voice" heads into a double elimination tonight.

Get This

MOW TO OWN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- You mow it -- you own it.

Science/Tech News

IN THE NEWS: ESPN SUING VERIZON

UNDATED (AP) -- It's a lawsuit that might affect how pay-TV programming is packaged in this age of cord-cutting.


 

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